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Journalist Refuses to Cover Pride Event at Fort Leonard Wood, "Comes Out" as Anti-LGBT

Categories: LGBT

Maurina never needed to make these feelings public, but a stray question on his Facebook wall launched him into an honest tirade, starting with this geographical notion he posted on his wall: "Promoting 'Gay Pride' in Pulaski County: This isn't San Francisco."

Maurina says he has "religiously based objections to homosexual practice," though he admits that gay soldiers -- like Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa Duncan, who is speaking at the base's pride event -- should have the right to their identity according to the law.

"They won, end of issue," he says. "They have the right to their views. They have the right to advocate their views. They won several years ago, and therefore I have no problem whatsoever with this sergeant major advocating what our law says she has the right to advocate."

See also: Ike Skelton: Overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Not Family Friendly

Maurina knew opening up about his feelings on LGBTQ rights would be contentious and inflammatory. So why did he?

Maurina tells Daily RFT that he has two types of readers: ultra-conservative, not gay-friendly military officials, department of defense civilians, spouses and townsfolk who would revolt if he wrote about an LGBTQ event; and liberal, gay or straight-ally readers who understand a reporter can disagree with the subjects he or she covers.

Maurina says he knows what would have happened had he covered the event. "It would have been mean. It would have been nasty. And I would have gotten hammered. I'd rather have it this way, where I'm dealing with people who will listen to me."

Maurina's insultingly infantilizing view of his readership aside, it appears he "got hammered" anyway by people fighting back against his stance on covering the pride event. His Facebook post explaining his reasoning has more than 1,000 comments -- including from Pulaski County residents who say they have no problem with gay pride.

"You can pick and choose all you want, but it lessens your credibility as a journalist," comments Phil Herndon, whose Facebook profile says he's from Dixon. "But go ahead. Sit behind your computer. Judge on her choice, not her voice, and continue to represent just one side. It's the journalism America has grown used to anyway. You should be eager to report unbiased news so the public can make its own decision, or did you forget what reporters do?"

In the end, Maurina says he's still not sure if he'll cover Fort Leonard Wood's LGBTQ pride event. As he's said all along, he'll cover it if other journalists do.

After all, the event's speaker, a command sergeant major and soldier for 23 years, deserves the respect she's earned, Maurnia says.

"I may not agree with the command sergeant major's lifestyle choice, but I respect her choice to join the U.S. Army, and she deserves to be commended for doing that and for following the rules under Don't Ask, Don't Tell that let her get to her current rank."

The Fort Leonard Wood Pride Month Celebration Luncheon will start at 11:30 a.m. Monday, June 30, at the Fort Leonard Wood USO Club. Tickets are $10. For more info, call 573-569-0601.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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33 comments
Steven Torlina
Steven Torlina

still messed up that leonard wood is having an event for the gays what has my army become

Michelle Accardi
Michelle Accardi

What he isnt saying is the real reason for not doing the story, fear of lost sales. Remember he is the owner. The 2nd reason is simple, he said he doesnt agree with the 'lifestyle choice those have made".

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Freedom of the Press is also the freedom to not cover stories. How many stories has the RFT not covered? That is what editors and publishers decide - which stories to cover and which ones to forget about.

Michele Volkman
Michele Volkman

I've worked hand in hand with Darrell at a sister paper down the highway. He is a (probably unhealthily) dedicated reporter, but certainly has biases as much of that areas small town media does. I laughed out loud when I read this though. I'm not surprised.

pba_aclaar
pba_aclaar

To be honest about it, Darrel isnt doing anything that has already been established as common practice by most news outlets. Its hard to feign outrage with something being censored when you're ok with it as long as it mirrors your viewpoints. I dont know of any news source that remains completely nuetral and unbiased. So untill you hold everyone to that standard, you cant really pick and choose who you jump on, because if you do, you are as guilty as they are. Just a thought 

Snowbeam Wiggleton
Snowbeam Wiggleton

People who think this is a free speech issue are so easy to dismiss as idiots. Because they are.

Freddy Doss Man-Ossy
Freddy Doss Man-Ossy

Also, not covering an event because you don't agree with it doesn't make you a journalist, in fact it makes you the exact opposite of a journalist.

Freddy Doss Man-Ossy
Freddy Doss Man-Ossy

This guy should be ashamed of himself. This is the real world, and this is the 21st century and you're the one not being a team player. We have an obligation to stand behind the men and women that serve our country regardless of who they love.

Lance Holdforth
Lance Holdforth

This is editorializing. As journalists we are observers and bound by ethics to remain neutral and unbiased, regardless of our personal beliefs. We report the news and events for whatever community to read and learn about. As a reporter I'm disappointed in this. Politics should never decree what is news and definitely should never influence it's publication.

Mandy Matney
Mandy Matney

Also "buddy" being used as loosely the word "newspaper" in this article.

John Randles
John Randles

For those of us that have had the misfortune of living on Pulaski County MO, are the first to say that Darrell Todd is an idiot. I wasn't aware he ran a real news publication. I thought he posted "news" on a Facebook page.

John Randles
John Randles

Mandy Matney your buddy hitting the big time.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

Very sad.  Its time for these people to grow up.  It should not matter what makes someone happy, instead they would rather see them suffer in silence and punished for whom they find comfort in.

It just does not matter, start worrying about what is happening in YOUR life before you tell someone else how to live theirs.

Graham Collins
Graham Collins

"They won". As if equal rights is a zero sum game. And Nicole Oberto, "god" doesn't fucking exist. I'm glad the America you love is crumbling before your eyes. And as far as "choice" goes, if your parents brainwashed you with fairy tale bullshit, you never stood a chance. It takes intelligence to resist indoctrination and to be able to apply critical thinking. I guess you're assed-out.

Nicole Marie Oberto
Nicole Marie Oberto

We aren't talking professionally. We are talking personally. Obviously, no one can handle another persons opinion if it differs from theirs. Hate to break it to everyone, but whether I agree with people or not, it's their right to feel what they want. That's why it's called freedom of speech. I understand most of us have forgotten that there's a constitution, but it's in there.

Stanford Griffith
Stanford Griffith

Actually, he's bound by the code of ethics of his chosen profession. If he chooses not to follow them, which is what he's doing, then he deserves to be judged professionally. You can't hang out your shingle and not abide by the set rules.

Nicole Marie Oberto
Nicole Marie Oberto

Can people make their own free choices in this country ie whether or not to cover a news story without people judging them, too!? It's his CHOICE. GOD BLESS AMERICA. What's left of it.

Erin Armknecht
Erin Armknecht

When I worked as a reporter for a tiny rural newspaper, I covered the county fair poultry show. Does this make me a chicken?

Rachel Webb
Rachel Webb

If careers would be in such danger by his covering the Pride event, then why did the official Fort Leonard Wood newspaper publish a profile of the Pride Month speaker and the warm welcome she and her wife have received there? And then why did the official Army website publish that same article? By the looks of this article, the Pride speaker's career is going to be just fine: http://www.army.mil/article/127863/Pride_Month_speaker_shares_life_experience/

That_Photo
That_Photo

Can we talk about that photo? 

https://www.facebook.com/darrellmaurina?fref=nf 

http://imgur.com/s4lUtqn.jpg


Those glasses, that beat-up laptop, that tiniest of mustaches lit up by the fluorescent light, reflecting off that particle-wood desk, that confident yet slightly disconcerted look that shows he's uncomfortable with having his photo taken -- for fear it might end up on one of those websites run by the Gay Agenda -- Darrel Maurina may have his index finger curled above the keyboard as if to convey he's about to hit "publish" on the day's breaking story, but he's really about to hit "send" on a love letter to the people of Pulaski County. 

Jessi Foust
Jessi Foust

Hate to break to him, and his readers who would revolt, but wether or not it gets covered by any media, it's still happening. Good luck finding something else to fill your pages!

Stanford Griffith
Stanford Griffith

Well, can a journalist cover a murder without readers thinking he's pro-murder? If a newspaper is to be a paper of record for the area, it must be unbiased in what it covers, regardless of the journalist's, publisher's, or owner's opinions. Anything else is a violation of journalistic ethics. There's a huge difference between reporting and promoting.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

It is fair to not report on a story. No news organization can report on every event int eh world, or even their own backyard. 


So much for understanding how the world works.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

No newspaper can cover all the stories in their area. You have to pick and choose. this is especially so for a small town paper with limited staff. You may not like their reasoning, but they are a free and independent press. To "force" them to cover a particular story would not be wise.


Then consider how biased of reporting the Post Dispatch has in their news stories. Every newspaper does this to some degree. Imagine how bias this article would be in that paper. Not a good situation even if they do cover the event. 



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